Office of the United States Attorney, Ann Birmingham Scheel
District of Arizona
February 8, 2012
ARIZONA WOMAN AND HER ASSOCIATE ARRESTED ON CHARGE OF MOVIE PRODUCTION FRAUD
PHOENIX, Ariz. – On Feb. 7, 2012, Christina Michelle Thompson, 43, and Bryan Paxton, 36, were arrested in Phoenix. The complaint on which they were arrested, which was issued on Feb. 6, 2012, charges them with Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud.
The complaint alleges that Thompson and Paxton engaged in a scheme to obtain money by falsely promising an author that they had the ability and contacts to have his book made into a movie. To further the scheme, the pair allegedly posed as associates and business partners of notable Hollywood personalities. Thompson allegedly prepared a contract, which she purported was from Sony Pictures, that required the payment of an initial $50,000 fee, with an additional $150,000 to be deposited into an escrow account to cover production expenses. On Jan. 4, 2012, an investor wrote a $12,000 check to Love N Loyalty LLC, in which Thompson allegedly holds an interest, to secure the services of Thompson and a Hollywood producer. The complaint alleges that Thompson and Paxton are not in the film industry and do not have the Hollywood contacts they claim.
A complaint is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
A conviction for Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. In determining the actual sentence, the judge will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges. The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence.
The investigation was conducted by Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service. The prosecution is being handled by Kevin M. Rapp, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix.
CASE NUMBER: 12-045M
RELEASE NUMBER: 2012-028(Thompson)
# # #
For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/az/